Log 6 May 2012

GLENDESSARRY 5 and 6 MAY 2012 (CONTINUED)

BIDEAN A’CHABAIR (or alternatively Sgurr na h-Aide) is an isolated Corbett in Glendessarry 10 km from the western end of Loch Arkaig.

Allan, Fraser and Malcolm left Milngavie after an early lunch for the drive to Loch Arkaig,  stopping off at Morrison’s in Fort William for Cider and fish suppers at Nico's.    We arrived after the usual 12 mile hair-raising drive along Loch Arkaig, arriving about 17:30.    There were more than a dozen cars in every available parking place so we were apprehensive about how full the bothy would be.

We loaded up with food, cooking stoves, sleeping mats and bags for the 5km forest walk to A' Chuil bothy.  The forest track is good and is gently uphill.  It would be a very good track to use a bicycle.  We arrived at the bothy at about 19:00 to find, much to our surprise, that it was empty.   Malcolm disappeared into the woods to find fuel whilst I filled up a gallon water container from the very low stream.  The soggy logs were split and lined the back of a fresh fire of fine twigs to dry out.    We tried to warm ourselves around the fire; sipping whisky and watching it get slowly darker outside.   By 22:00 it was nearly dark so we climbed nearly fully clothed into our sleeping bags to await the dawn.  It was dry but cold at night.

We arose before 6am and left the bothy at 7:10 heading west along the track into the wood.    After about 3km it emerges at the bottom of Meall na Sroine, the ridge up to the summit.   After an initial steep climb the ridge undulates 4km until the final peak is in sight.   This looks daunting, a mini version of the cliff on Eigg.   Malcolm conquered it with a frontal cliff climbing assault    Fraser and I demurred and tried to locate the "easy" path Fraser had used the last time in the mist.  Traversing to the south did not look good when we tried it so we retraced our steps a little and tried traversing to the north.   Eventually I found a scramble I could climb but Fraser continued 200m W to find his easy route up.   We assembled on the top at 12:30 to eat and view the surrounding hills and islands.    Skye to the north, Rum and Eigg in the near distance with the outer islands on the horizon.

The return was by the same route with very fine flurries of hailstones on the way down.  We met two climbers on their way up who were planning to stay in the bothy.  When we got back to load up our belongings we found two Germans, two women from Inverness and another couple.  It was going to be snug in the bothy that night!

We arrived back at the car about 18:00 and stopped again at Nico's in Fort William for Fish & Chips, getting home about 23:00.
Report by Allan Carr